Profile: Sarah Millican


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The Independent Online


Who's this again? I'm sure I've seen her sitting on every TV panel show from here to Channel 4...

This is Sarah Millican, the 36-year-old comic from South Shields. You're right – she has been a staple of the comedy panel show circuit for the past few years. However, she has just entered comedy superstar territory.

Blimey. What's brought this on?

Ms Millican is on something of a roll of late. She was presented with the People's Choice gong at the British Comedy Awards last week, making her the Queen of British Comedy.

As if that wasn't enough, it has now emerged that her debut stand-up DVD, Chatterbox Live, has shifted more than 150,000 copies (161,000 to be exact), making it the biggest selling DVD from a female comedian of all time. The previous record was held by French & Saunders Live, released in 2000, which sold 151,000 copies that year. Nobody has come close during the intervening decade; the previous best was Victoria Wood – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, with nearly 50,000 units sold in the year of release.

Well, perhaps there wasn't much competition. Isn't there some tired old sexist cliché about women comedians not being funny?

Let me stop you right there. I think those figures put that misconception to rest. Don't forget, for example, that last year's winner of the People's Choice trophy at the British Comedy Awards was Miranda Hart, who is now seen as one of mainstream comedy's leading lights after the success of her sit-com Miranda. If that is a precedent, we will be hearing much more of Ms Millican. Multiple nominations and awards for her Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows show the critics like her too.

So 2012 will be her year then?

Perhaps. The public can't seem to get enough of her - all those appearances on radio and TV have served only to increase their enthusiasm. She has more than 260,000 Twitterfollowers and is currently in the middle of a 2011/12 nationwide tour. Her mix of mumsy charm and filthy mouth is certainly pulling in the punters, and having broken into comedy as a second career after a divorce, she will probably want to make the most of it...